The Adoption World: Real Life vs Online

Being part of the adoption world has been an eye opening experience, as I knew it would be the moment we began considering adoption to grow our family.

Before I jump into this, I have to start by saying I am referring to adoptive parents, adopted children in this post simply for clear language.  We do not refer to ourselves as adopted parents or to Little MPB as an adopted child on a day-to-day basis.

Our real life experiences are nothing like our online experiences.  Our real life experiences typically consist of:

  • relationships we have developed with other open-adoption families who we met through our local adoption agency.  While we don’t actually share a lot in common in our day-to-day lives, we do tend to share our perspective as adoptive parents who want to find ways to help our children as they grow up.  And, we also all hopeful that eventually our children will all be able to support each other as they grow up and start to explore how adoption forms part of their individual identity.  We are all involved in open adoptions and share the same core values regarding openness.
  • relatives who were adopted internationally in closed adoptions about 20 years ago.
  • a few adoptees who are now adults that we randomly know.

Being part of the online community has been fascinating.  There have been multiple online stories that have shocked me to my very core and have brought tears to my eyes.  I have read all kinds of stories, the list too long to write.  But one consistency between the stories is that there seems to be a whole lot of judgement from some of those involved in the online adoption.  Judgement from all sides – adoptive parents, adopted children, birth families and even just random people (aka trolls).  The perspective on the internet seems to be rather slanted to say that there is a lot of damage that has been done through the adoption process to a whole lot of people.  There is no doubt that adoption has not been good for everyone in the world, I am not trying to open that debate here today.

I think the point of what I’m trying to say is that I am actually very conscious about the adoption related articles I read and the blogs I follow.  In fact, for me to follow anything adoption related it has to be a well balanced perspective and it has be constructive to help me learn as a parent.  That doesn’t mean that for me to read something it has to be about a someone living a fairy-tale life – in fact, many that I follow are not living fairy-tale lives.  Rather they are just living life and processing their experiences regardless of if their experience is that of an adopted child, adoptive parents or birth parents.  Really, it’s no differently then how I view my blog – I am just living my life and sharing my perspectives as they arise, grow and develop over time.  But I don’t tend to read sensationalized, extremist adoption blogs/articles.  (To be fair that’s also how I read non-adoption related blogs/articles too, especially political articles these days – but that a different topic for a different day).

I guess, maybe what I’m trying to say is that the online voice is not the same as the real life voice I hear.  And, I’m not sure why that is?

Specifically, I hear a lot of online talk about adoptees as either happy/well-adjusted or unhappy/angry and I rarely hear about good adoptive parents or good open adoption relationships.  And, I wonder, why don’t I hear that same happy/unhappy language and that same negativity about adoptive parents in real life? My real life exposure is much more ‘balanced’ (for lack of a better word) – way less negativity and way less focus on adoption in general.  In our real lives, adoption is part of our families narrative, but it’s not the only part of the narrative.

I don’t have an answer to this.  But is sure has me thinking today.  Maybe I live in some sort of bubble?

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11 Comments on “The Adoption World: Real Life vs Online

  1. Same concept of being polite to someone in person vs what you really wanted to say to them but didn’t – most of us aren’t instinctively the type to sharing the hard in person – even when I go to the doctor I don’t want to whine about poor me, I go the opposite way.

    In regards to adoption in particular. My cousin talked to me about her adopting and something about how my adoption reassured her, I didn’t tell her any of my deeper feelings about being adopted, still haven’t. Being adopted comes with painful contradictory feelings at times, and also a deep loyalty that prohibits being able to say something that would hurt another, I never even spoke of my harder feelings to strangers who would never meet anyone who knew my family. Just a line in the sand I’d never have crossed, why I’m still publically anonymous to most despite mom and dad both being gone. For me, being able to speak more freely is a gift I never thought I’d have, to be able to explore and find out other adoptees had similar feelings at times as I did. (you do hear about good parents from me though)

    Liked by 2 people

    • First, I want to acknowledge that you are one of the adoption blogs that I follow and appreciate the learning opportunities you give me. So, thank you. 🙂
      It makes a lot of sense that we are more censored in what we say in real life in terms of refraining from hurting others in our lives. As well, the anonymity that comes with the internet for those who write anonymously (like you and I) enables us to say things we may not say otherwise.

      Liked by 2 people

    • From everything I’ve read and learned (adoption has always been a topic of great interest to me and I’ve never been comfortable with how it’s conducted in the US and Canada, and I am neither adopted nor an adoptive parent), what you wrote is EXACTLY why reality is so different from what you see online. I’m glad you spoke up and said what you said. The pressure that is on adopted kids to protect (ALL of) their parents’ feelings is immense and life-long.

      I appreciate your open honesty. ❤️

      Liked by 2 people

      • Being involved in both the Canadian and American system I will always advocate that the Canadian system which is run by qualified social workers and is non-profit, it about a million times better then the one run in the USA which is run by lawyers and business men/women for profit. The difference still astounds me and I’m still shocked at how naive I once was.
        As for pressure on adopted kids, I like to think that’s also part of how parents raise them and help them understand adoption. I know for us, whenever someone says how luck Little MPB is, we always say how lucky we are, not him. We make a point to explain to people (in the appropriate time and way) that children adopted or not shouldn’t be made to feel guilty or indebted to their parents for providing a safe and loving home where all their basic needs are met. I know these conversations will change as we eventually work to teach Little MPB these types of things, and I just hope we are able to do right by him. (I know you weren’t asking about this, but I just felt the need to say it)

        Liked by 3 people

  2. There is a parallel world in the Donor-Created Offspring perspective. Most families I know in person are well-adjusted, fully-functioning families. Online there is a world of intense judgment, and a very vocal group of donor-conceived persons who HATE the system. It’s an interesting perspective, because they pretty candidly admit they wish they had not been conceived using donor cells. They contend the industry is a racket that doesn’t consider the offspring at all. Granted, a lot of these voices are people who found out late in life or by accident that they are donor-conceived, and I’m sure the same pain holds true for adoptees who don’t learn early and through healthy, candid dialogue.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Hi there! There is a facebook group called Donor Conceived Offspring, Siblings, Parents – (Sperm, Egg, Embryo). It is very informative, but as a parent of a donor conceived child, I will caution you to be in the right frame of mind before you dive in, and also remember there are many donor conceived people who are perfectly happy with their origin story. xo

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I think people tend to express more extreme emotions online, wether it is positive or negative. So there are probably a lot more balanced situations out there, you just don’t get a lot of people writing about those situations.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know you if enjoy watching vlogs at all but there is a family on youtube I watch that have 2 daughters through adoption and are still struggling with infertility but they are a very open, positive family that are super wonderful people
    I find them inspirational even if some of their views are different from mine I love their honesty and non stop positive perspective on life. I know that I people are a lot more vocal online than in person. Hugs! I never think about how my family is blended we are just a family… my boys are my boys and dna doesn’t change that…


  5. I think that is smart of you to stay open minded but not go too far into either extreme. I do not have any experience to add anything else but I think this is a very interesting contrast that I will be thinking more about.


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